In early February we’ve taken over the development of LinkedUp, a professional social media app created as a demo meant to show the ease with which developers can build on the Internet Computer: https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/23/dfinity-launches-an-open-source-platform-aimed-at-the-social-networking-giants/?guccounter=1
We were very excited about the potential that LinkedUp showed. The idea of taking over the development of LinkedUp has originated within the Dokia Capital team, but since then it has branched out into its own stand-alone project when our CEO, Aurel Iancu, decided to fund it and set up a dedicated team.
In only 2 months we’ve completely redesigned the platform and our dev team has taken up the challenge of developing both the web application and the mobile applications at the same time. We’re particularly focused on our work on the mobile apps and we’re proud of our progress and the way we’ve overcome some of the engineering challenges that we were faced with.
At the same time, we’re undergoing a rebranding process that resulted in renaming the project Distrikt. We’re looking forward to seeing distrikts form, grow, merge, and interact with each other on their platform, as communities and groups naturally tend to.
What is Distrikt?
A decentralized, professional social media network that empowers users to own and control their identity and data. Powered by DFINITY’s Internet Computer, Distrikt will be the first 100% blockhain-based social media network. This means that all of the engagements, uploads, and exchanges that take place on Distrikt will be broadcast on-chain. This is an ambitious endeavor that is now made possible by the Internet Computer’s scaling capabilities.
We are confident that we can start onboarding users as soon as this summer. The platform will be launched as a professional network, designed to showcase medium to long-form user-generated written content. If we were to compare it to existing platforms, Distrikt would be a combination between LinkedIn, Twitter, and Medium…only decentralized, user-governed and user-owned.
Why Distrikt? Why Dfinity? Why now?
Social media networks have grown big enough and powerful enough that we can’t keep brushing aside the issues that they’re faced with. From Cambridge Analytica to countless privacy issues, de-platforming and censorship, we can’t and won’t ignore these issues forever, especially when they impact our society on such a level.
There’s of course a different discussion when we address the de-platforming of the platform itself like we’ve seen with Parler.
Shutting down social media networks because of these problems is not the solution. Social spaces like these are needed, useful, and often create an environment that nurtures positive relationships and unprecedented levels of connection and coordination.
If the COVD-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it’s the importance of having these means of communication and expression. We just don’t need to pay for them with our data or submit to censorship if we don’t want to face de-platforming.
Our mission is to empower users to connect, collaborate and share with each other while preserving total ownership and control over their data on a platform that they can govern themselves. We want Distrikt to be the embodiment of the best of both worlds. A great user experience and the benefits of blockchain technology all wrapped into one.
This core value proposition of Distrikt guides us as we create the first blockchain-based competitive network around the sovereignty of our users.
The Genesis of the Internet Computer will allow platforms like Distrikt to be part of an ecosystem in which they can thrive as a truly decentralized system, directly on the Internet and free from dependence on proprietary systems. Distrikt won’t be faced with platform risk, which is especially important in the context of launching autonomous software.
The fact that DFINITY removes a huge layer of complexity that currently lies between builders and the users that we want to serve is a huge value proposition.
Team: We have a team composed of 11 specialists ranging from engineers, front-end developers, mobile developers, designers, and operational. The development team is located in Belgrade, while product design and marketing are in Bucharest.
Funding: Funding will be allocated by the Open Internet Foundation, a Swiss non-profit that we’re in the process of setting up. The Foundation has secured 1,000,000 CHF in funding to ensure that the team has enough resources to support the accelerated pace of development that we’ve already established.
Ownership: Distrikt will be community-owned. This is something very dear to our hearts. We see no point in building another VC-owned mass-market platform. Through the efforts of the Open Internet Foundation, we’ll do our best to ensure that the ownership goes to our users.
If we’ve made you curious, stay tuned because we will release more details (and our new website) soon!
Until then feel free to follow us on Twitter where we have a brand new presence: https://twitter.com/DistriktApp